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MKT - Cimarron River Bridge



This bridge was originally a part of a Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line that extended from Parsons, Kansas, to Oklahoma City. The line was originally constructed by the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad Company, before being purchased by the MKT in the early 20th century.

The bridge also supported the rails of an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway branch line, in what was a very unique arrangement. The two lines ran side-by-side coming out of Cushing, OK. Just before the bridge, the inside rails of both lines crossed over each over, and the two lines almost completely merged, with the inside rail of each line just a few inches apart from the outside rail of the other line as they ran across the bridge.

This unique arrangement allowed both railroads to cross the river, without necessitating a double-track bridge. Because the lines didn't completely merge before the bridge, no switches were needed, easing operations for both railroads and making track maintenance simpler. Sephamore signals guarded the approaches, protecting the bridge tracks and ensuring against sideswipes and head on collisions on the bridge.

In 1973, bad flooding on the Cimarron River destroyed both wooden approach trestles to the bridge. At this time, the KATY was only running one train a day, six days a week, to Oklahoma City. Rather than rebuilding the bridge, the railroad decided to embargo the tracks and use newly acquired trackage rights from the Rock Island to reach Oklahoma City. Thus, the damaged bridge was never repaired, and was soon abandoned and removed, along with a large portion of the former MKT branch line. The MKT later completely abandoned all service to Oklahoma City.


All lengths are approximate


Lost Deck plate girder bridge over Cimarron River on former MKT/ATSF RR
Payne County, Oklahoma
Partially destroyed by flooding 1973, subsequently abandoned and removed
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF)
- Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT)
Deck plate girder
Total length: 540.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.08998, -96.70808   (decimal degrees)
36°05'24" N, 96°42'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/706347/3996360 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 80616 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 26, 2018: Added by Dylan VanAntwerp